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SALFORD READING THE RIOTS
 

Star date: 8th March 2012

SALFORD RIOT `THE BEST DAY OF OUR LIVES'

A packed meeting at St Seb's community centre in Charlestown last night heard how local young people had described last summer's Salford riot as `the best day of our lives'…

The panel which included Salford Council Leader, John Merry and community worker Graham Cooper, gave their views on the causes of the riot and looked at possible solutions for the future. When asked about the failure of MediaCityUK to create jobs, John Merry told the audience basically to come back in twenty years…

Full report here…


Salford Reading The Riots
click image to enlarge

Major research by The Guardian and the London School of Economics, based on interviews with people involved in last summer's riots, was published last December and concluded that policing and poverty were the main causes, and that the riots were a protest of sorts (see here).

Last night The Guardian and the Social Action and Research Foundation brought the conclusions to Salford for a debate led by a panel made up of community worker, Graham Cooper, Salford Council Leader, John Merry, Greater Manchester Police Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, Gerry Stone from Seedley And Langworthy Trust, and Reading The Riots researcher Helen Clifton.

The most notable contribution on the causes of the riots came from Graham Cooper who was present on the day and recounted how young people had told him it was `the best day of my life'. He described the riot as "the perfect storm", coming on the back of over zealous police activity involving ASBOs, curfews and no transparency Stop and Search sweeps, with some young people being stripped down to the waist and not even given official dockets.

He described how young people from Ordsall and Lower Broughton joined together to attack the police with an `our gang is bigger than their gang' mentality. Disputing John Merry and Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan's suppositions that the riots were based on criminality, Cooper added that "this is not just about criminality, it's about disengagement…communication between young people and the police has disappeared…"

Cooper also blamed Salford's schools which five or six year's ago were well below the national average and let down young people … "They left school with nothing" he said "Where are they now? They're on the streets. Rioting!"

Both Graham Cooper, SALT's Gerry Stone and members of the audience drew attention to the hypocrisy between those `feral elites' at the top of society who seemed to be above the law – MPs fiddling expenses, City traders and bankers fiddling finances, and Rupert Murdoch and the police breaking the law – and the heavy handed justice dished out to arrested rioters…

"David Cameron came down here and had no idea of how people live" said Gerry Stone, referring to the Prime Minister's visit to SALT in the aftermath of the riot.

"Things like welfare reform seems like an ideology to attack a section of society, whereas people you are supposed to look up to are not abiding by the law" she added "You can't just condemn it [the riot] as criminality."

A criminal lawyer in the audience who had been involved in subsequent court cases surrounding the riots said that there had been "unequal treatment", almost like the normal rule of law had been suspended – and he blamed Government interference with the courts, for "the first time ever".

Even Salford Council Leader, John Merry, kind of agreed with this, saying he wished we'd got "a bunch of judges who understood Salford issues a but more".

The ethics were summed up by Graham Cooper who said that "hundreds of MPs were fiddling their expenses and only four of them got imprisoned, yet kids stealing from shops were getting six years."

Asked if there was any evidence for his assertion that the `tipping factor' for the riot in Salford was `serious criminals', Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said it was based on conversations with police officers and members of the community but he couldn't prove it… "It was a factor" he concluded "But we'll never get to the bottom of it."

Audience members who spoke seemed to back up the original Salford Star report (see here) on the scenes around Salford Precinct… "There were no gang leaders orchestrating anything"… "People were enjoying themselves"… "It was like a party". 

The Guardian's Helen Clifton, who spoke to rioters as part of the research, recounted how they all said the same thing… `We don't have a voice'…`It was the only way to express ourselves'… For her, the riots were a protest of sorts.

The Reading The Riots meeting ended by looking to the future and `positive solutions'. Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said that the police are now involved in a community engagement programme in Ordsall… "I think it's good, but could be better."

John Merry argued that many of things Salford Council would like to do, it couldn't because the ConDem Government was stripping the city of £66million a year. He added that the Government's attack on benefit claimants and the `work for nothing' Tesco-type schemes wouldn't work and that the Council is looking to get people into apprenticeships.

Gerry Stone responded that the community sector which works with young people and adults is losing funding, and that SALT has put all its staff on redundancy notices. Graham Cooper added that young people are being paid between £30-£50 a week on work schemes – the same rate he was on thirty years ago.

A university researcher in the audience said that Salford Council's `investments' in things like MediaCityUK hadn't worked… "If you look at statistics for unemployment and everything else in Ordsall they haven't changed."

MediaCityUK and the lack of BBC jobs for Salford people came in for lots of criticism from the audience… "The important thing was to bring it here and the next priority is to work with them on the prospect of jobs" said John Merry.

"Jobs will eventually come to Salford" he added "We'll know in twenty years time if our investment has worked…"

While everyone waits twenty years for the `positive solution', one lady in the audience asked about the prospect of more riots flaring up in Salford, following the fatal police shooting of Anthony Grainger at the weekend. Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said that it wouldn't be right to comment…

See previous related Salford Star articles...

Salford Riot Evictions - click here

Salford Conviction for BBC Car Torching - see here

Salford Riots - Blame The Parents - click here

Salford Riots - UNISON Attacks Youth Cuts - click here

Salford Riots - Hazel Blears' Office Attacked - click here

Salford Riots - by Nigel Pivaro - click here

 

Bill Smid wrote
at 06:09:14 on 19 March 2012
The Police in Salford are good at investigating crime and bringing criminals to Justice but I’ll tell you this they are no good at Policing Salford’s streets. How is that? I hear you say! They just take the job personally! and are to judgmental.
 
Free Man ? wrote
at 16:38:54 on 16 March 2012
Wise words from Council Worker . The corrupt'elite' who dominate this exploitive society are busily turning the plod-thickos into a plod-thicko stasi para-military thug army . They are determined to crush all resistance by any means , using violent ,vicious plod bullies , suitably armed with new toys of repression . State Terrorism will become commonplace. A few rioters are hunted down and harsh punishment meted out , yet the corrupt MP fraudsters , corrupt MEP fraudsters , and criminal banksters will remain unpunished . The entire political system is corrupt , and freedom is merely an illusion .
 
another council worker wrote
at 15:29:03 on 16 March 2012
The police identified around 90 crime scenes after the riots where they were able to extract DNA material. Where DNA was unidentifiable due to it not being recorded or stored on police database in unprescedented action the police got a high court order to obtain records from hospitals in order to match dna samples. This has not happened in the cases of rape or murder, but rest assured if you try to get your telly back from cash converters they will hunt you down like vermin. the actions of the police and judicial system last year has set policing back years. i'm sure there are a few good coppers out there, but in recent times we only seem to see police officers who thrive on chases, high profile arrests and are disinterested in mundane crime that affects us all.
 
jim devine wrote
at 05:59:55 on 11 March 2012
I read with great enthusiasm that some nutter had whacked a few Mps in the commons bar. Then it turned out it was one of their own. HJis main offence they said was dealing out violence in such a house. Excuse me isnt this the same fucking house that has dealt out the most horrific violence mankind could ever imagine and the kind of violence the BBc WILL NEVER SHOW. aND ON A DAY SIX YOUNG MEN ARE BEING REMEMBERED AFTER BEING SLAUGHTERED JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN SENT TO A STUPID FECKIN WAR THAT THIS QUIET PEACEFUL LITTLE FUCKING HOUSE VOTED FOR. ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL. And any fecker who decides to vote in the next election please dont as all you will become is yet another appeaser.
 
Jim Devine. wrote
at 21:57:38 on 10 March 2012
Really well said Ian, Merry's hypocrisy is well documented on this site.
 
Salfordian , not proud of it wrote
at 21:57:31 on 10 March 2012
As this corrupt, exploitive society plunges uncontrollaby into social fragmentation and disinegration , the hand-wringers , apologists and bullshitters still ignore the truth . Give people no hope of any future , and eventualy there will be a violent reaction . The EU, MEPs , MPs , local councils , all government agencies ,are CORRUPT, leeching parasites feeding on the rotting corpse of this dead society . These parasites have never done a proper days work in their lives , as they cruise through life robbing the taxpayer at every opportunity . These leeches nearly destroyed this corrupt society with their bankster co-conspiritors , and expect ordinary people to pay for their mis-management of the economy by enforced austerity . The Greek people have shown the only way forward . The parasites can expect more Resistance .
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 09:29:49 on 10 March 2012
Hmmm. Okay. Let me get this straight. On the one hand Salford Council quickly joined the baying pack of Daily mail readers and their paymaster Tories in London, by issuing eviction notices for people supposedly involved in the 'riots' - on the other John Merry implies that the courts were wrong to behave as they did in imposing such draconian punishment on offenders. What is it to be John? Just what, exactly , is your stance on this? Or do you need to see what The Sun is going to say on any given subject before you throw in your two bobsworth? Then we have the Chief Super, telling us that the reasons for these disturbances were nothing more than sheer criminality - though he then goes on to say that there is no evidence whatsoever for this. Sounds about right for a British police force nowadays; after all, when did evidence ever get in the way of a good conviction? The most embarrassing thing about all of this is that everybody knows the reasons these disturbances took place, and the fact that police in London yet again shot and killed an unarmed man, was only the fuse that set it all off. Only a complete liar or utter moron could even suggest otherwise. The reason is that we all know and are all sick to death of the fact that this country is entirely f*cking lawless once you reach a certain economic or political level. It is just that simple. If you are a politician, local or central, John, you are not subject to the laws of this land. If you are a millionaire or billionaire, again you are not subject to the laws of this land. As far as everybody is concerned, Hazel Blears for example, blatantly stole 13k from the tax payer. She and hoards of others, on both sides of the political divide, robbed from the nation when they had no excuse whatsoever. None of them were living in the kind of poverty which sees you feel the need to loot f*cking LIDL!! FFS!! Every single one of them has a life, Mr Merry included, which to the average Salfordian is like a lottery win. And yet they stole from us and did so for decades. 13 grand is only the amount she was caught out on remember! And what happened? Almost nothing. After all, it was the Blears the Blaires and the Merrys who helped ensure the laws which said it was legal to steal remained in place for so long. The police, hands tied, sat behind them and said nothing, and then happily saw kids locked up for years for stealing a TV from scumbags like cash generator. Can we not just have a little bit of honesty? That would be a start. After that, Mr Merry needs to take a look at his priorities concerning Salford. Convince yourself of what you want, sir, but external investment in Salford comes at a price which is too high. We need internal investment. It may take a few generations, but if you have any balls at all you will step up to the task. I don't see it happening myself.
 
Walt Bester wrote
at 09:27:42 on 10 March 2012
20 YEARS ? These Ponzi Schemers are guilty of running an Organised Crime Syndicate .
 
Anthony wrote
at 20:58:26 on 08 March 2012
How I agree with Gerry Stone and Graham Cooper. I remember 3 tvs Blears piously condemning the youths who had nicked crappy 2nd hand tvs from cash converters. so what! Let em have em. Hazel should use this indignation to question why her city is over run with shops like this and brighthouse which make fortunes from poverty.
 
council worker wrote
at 18:56:49 on 08 March 2012
In 20 years time the names Merry and Scarey Spicer will be confined to history. What will not be forgotten is how combined together their ideas and what they have achieved have ruined this City and made it a suburb of Manchester. Their fixation with Peel and Salford Res is legendary amongst council staff who continue to be suppressed and bullied by this regime. The youths of Salford know the reality and acted accordingly.
 
Salfordian wrote
at 14:57:15 on 08 March 2012
Useless and pathetic . Where are the 'jobs for Salford ' mooted by Merry , Spicer and the rest of the inept goons , which were part of the dubious wheeling-and-dealing , secret bullshit meetings , covert funding with Salford Taxpayers money , double-dealing with rich big-business associates ? 20 YEARS ???????????? This pathetic gang of shysters should be charged with Treason against the Salford People .
 
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